Gitxsan rally gathers in Smithers against ‘legalized corruption’

a group of A long shot of a group of people hold a large banner as they walk down a street in a small city.
Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs, members and supporters of Gitxsan land defenders held a rally in Smithers on November 21, 2023. Photo courtesy of Ruby Kaur / Allies in Action
Pamela Haasen - CICK - SmithersBC | 24-11-2023
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On November 21st in Smithers, Gitxsan hereditary chiefs, members and supporters gathered to raise awareness about what they say is 'legalized corruption' on Gitxsan land by the militarized arm of the RCMP, the Community-Industry Response Group or C-IRG.

According to the RCMP's website, the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) was created in 2017 to provide strategic oversight addressing energy industry incidents and related public order, national security and crime issues. Its mandate is to ensure a consistent, standardized and impartially administered police response across the province.

The Gitxsan and RCMP created a Community Safety Plan back in late 2022 which in essence, eliminated the need for court injunctions to be pressed upon Gitxsan members on their land (which covers about 33,000 sq KM in northern BC).

The rally on November 21st, 2023 was to apply pressure to the RCMP that the Gitxsan are waiting for a response to the armistice agreement between the Gitxsan and the RCMP to find a safer agreement between them in order to move forward with any industry protection services on Gitxsan land.

An armistice agreement is the formal paperwork between two warring parties to end their fighting.

Simogyat Gwiiyeehl (Chief Brian Williams) told CICK News "The Community Safety Plan was intended to eliminate the need for the court injunctions that are imposed on the Gitxsan, and is to have a frank discussion with whomever needs to be negotiated and also to ensure that there is complete safety on the Gitxsan people who are basically protecting their, their land, their Huwilp.

"And we've had one meeting, back in April 26, 2023, and we're hoping to do another one again probably in a year's time whenever the RCMP are ready to come together with the Gitxsan", he continued. "We tabled [the armistice agreement] on, also on April 26th, 2023, and the RCMP indicated to us that they would get back to us and to date they have not responded."

To listen to the full interview with Simogyat Gwiiyeehl, listen in the link below.